The head tilts upwards, the ears prick. The wind has carried a message, a story, a clue.
Without further hesitation, he is off and running. Stops…..sniffs again…..and sprints. The terrain is becoming less familiar but the euphoria is indescribable.
The gusts ease. The wind no more than a gentle quiver. Halted, moving from the strength of nose to eyes and back again. There is a tree, dead. White with grey markings, fallen. Approaching silently, scent getting stronger. Scratching. Desperation. It knows he’s near.
Circling around the fallen log, he lets out a bark to induce surrender. It doesn’t work, but the scratching ceases. Time stands still, frozen except for the rustle caused by the wind. The wind is ready to tell a new story, carry a different message, a changed clue. But he’s not done yet. There is more to this chase, he can feel it.
Peering from the far end of the long, he can see the light at the other end but obstructing its cascade is a small ball. A snake, no. A rabbit, no. Something new, different. Something worth investigating further…
If Wally was older he may have encountered such a creature before. His experience would soon teach him to circle and bark is perhaps his only defence mechanism against the strength, determination, grit and quills of the Echidna in the log…..he learns the hard way, more than once before the lesson is learnt.